Reason Chats with Rep. Thomas Massie, a Liberty-Minded Republican

Thomas Massie

Nick Gillespie of Reason TV recently sat down with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who is one of the new libertarian-minded Republicans in the Congress, to discuss a number of issues, ranging from his support of the Keystone XL and his opposition to expansive government surveillance and the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal that was passed earlier this year.

On Keystone XL, which was recently approved by the House, Massie explained that he voted to support the project because he “thought that the government was trying to hold up the project.

“I sit on the committee that marked up the bill, and so I got a chance to hear the amendments that the Democrats offered,” explained Massie. “They had some good points, but most of their amendments were designed to kill the bill. I wish they had offered amendments that were actually constructive.”

Gillespie asked about passing more laws to protect Americans from onerous and overreaching proposals like CISPA and other forms of government surveillance. Massie said that Congress doesn’t really need to pass new protections because the Constitution already protects the rights of Americans.

“A lot of what I see Congress grapple with here is the introduction of new technology into society and trying to resolve that with existing laws. I don’t necessarily think we need new laws, we need to respect the Constitution,” Massie told Gillespie. “So just because we have a new type of technology like the Internet or drones, for instance, doesn’t mean that all of our constitutional rights have to go away. As Congressmen we have be sure that they’re preserved even with the advent of new technology.”

Massie also talked about the Internet sales tax, a proposal he has fought strongly against since it came to the House last month. He told Gillespie that he is “passionately against the Internet sales tax.”

“It’s not about fairness. It’s about lobbyists coming up here for big corporations and asking Congress to help pummel their competition using a tax,” said Massie, noting later that the proposal is “unprecedented.”

Massie talked about the “fiscal cliff” deal and why he opposed it. “Not only did it raise taxes to the tax brackets, it raised also the Social Security tax, but it also expanded spending on, for instance, unemployment insurance and it perpetuated some of the inequities in the tax code like green tax credits,” he explained. “I call it a really big turd sandwich without the bread.”

Gillespie asked Massie about the IRS scandal. The Kentucky Republican explained that both parties are “missing the boat,” by trying to go after the Obama Administration and the management in the IRS. He explained that the real problem is the IRS itself and that Congress should be trying to rid Americans of the agency. He indicated that he would support a flat tax or the FairTax.

Massie and Gillespie talked about many, many other issues, including the Congressman’s governing philosophy and government spending. Watch the whole thing below:

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